STAFF at a Southampton swimming pool want people to make a splash for cancer charities.

Shirley pool in Kentish Road is one of 500 swimming pools across the UK to take part in this year's BT Swimathon from March 19-25.

With more than 40,000 people taking part, it is set to be the biggest swimming contest in Europe and the local pool has just officially launched the event.

The pool is putting on three exclusive BT Swimathon sessions for local swimmers over the week-long event.

Every penny raised will go to three funds: Macmillan Cancer Relief, Breakthrough Breast Cancer and The Prostate Cancer Charity.

Spokesman Dave Perry, of Shirley Pool, said: "BT Swima-thon is a fantastic event and is something that anyone of any age can take part in.

"It is also a great opportunity to get into shape after all the excesses of Christmas.

"Not only does the BT Swima-thon provide participants with a great sense of personal achievement, it will also be helping to raise a huge amount of money for some very worthwhile charities".

Participants can swim 1,500m, 2,500m or 5,000m individually or as part of a team. Those taking part then obtain sponsorship from family and friends.

Since the first intrepid swimmers tested the water 15 years ago, 372,000 BT Swimathon participants have swum a staggering 520,000 miles. That is the equivalent of doing the crawl from John O'Groats to Lands End 600 times.

Anyone interested in entering the BT Swimathon event can log on to their website at or call the freephone number 0800 731 7316 to sign up to one of the three sessions at Shirley Pool.